Hmm, I never knew there were american shetlands. I knew there were refined/american miniatures though.
These new ones just jook like overgrown american miniatures.lol.
I like them though, I never really was a fan of the 'traditional' shetlands and mini's.
I don't know much about shetlands, but you're right the "new" shetlands look more refined and sportier. I think I like the more traditional ones, they remind of a traditional shetland pony at my old that all the little kids used to ride and play with. He was a great little guy! Lol. The new ones look like their more of a show pony.
I think they're a cross between a shetland and a hackney? I think someone said that? I'm not sure.
Personally, I like the traditional shetlands because they're cool ponies and you can do just about anything with them. The new ones are so lean and tiny I wouldn't want to put anyone on it except a really tiny leadline kid. =/ The traditional ones can carry adults.